Stopping full-time RVing like a “hot potato”?


By Chuck Woodbury
A reader wrote to me with this comment. I thought I would share it with you in case you were interested. He wrote:

Dear Chuck,
I am amazed at your change of attitude about full-time RVing. I followed your past full-time adventures with interest. I was quite surprised when you dropped full-timing like a hot potato. Not to be negative toward you or your RVing practices, just an observation of a person who was actually considering it. Thank you for your contributions to RVing.

I responded:

Dear whoever you are (you did not leave your name),
I have spent at least eight cumulative years on the road (probably more) in my 35 total years of being an RVer, so I know pretty well what it’s like to travel with an RV. The recent two years of full-timing was a great experience, but like many other RVers it proved less satisfying than I had envisioned. Part-time RVing works better for me, especially since I am still running a business. The business was starting to suffer in my absence, and if that were to continue it would hurt a lot of people who depend on it. And I missed associating in person with my staff.

But I did not drop full-timing like a “hot potato.” Gail and I began our full-time adventure with the idea that we would test the waters. And we had a great time. I have no doubt that we will spend many months at a time in our RV in the future, just not year-round without a sticks-and-bricks home to return to.

I don’t know how long you have been an RVer, but I have been one more than half of my life. And I can tell you that full-time RVing is a whole lot different today than it was even 10 years ago. It’s crowded out there and that frustrated me. I found it a lot more of a hassle to travel freely, going where I wanted to go on a whim, which is the way I like to travel. It’s not easy to do that anymore.

But, you know, I can’t explain why I stopped full-timing every time I write a story. So readers, perhaps like you, can’t really know my true motives for my actions. We each have our unique ways of living our lives and what works (or does not work) for me may not work for you or others.

I can’t count the number of people I know who love their full-time lifestyle. They make it work and it’s a dream life. But, for me, two years of living such a life was less satisfying than doing it part-time. So now I have a traditional home and my “mobile” home, and I can enjoy the best of both worlds.

If you plan to travel full-time with an RV, don’t let what I say stop you. Do it! It may end up being the greatest adventure of your life.

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We have been camping for over 30 years, and retired 5 years ago. We have spent 6 months of the year on the road, but return to our home to center ourselves; we did want to become a visitor in our own hometown! I am also wagonmaster of our camping club and can confirm the issue with campgrounds getting more crowded and stricter policies, such as non-refundable deposits add-on fees. The solution which has allowed us to continue to travel is volunteerism. We volunteer at national and state parks — sometimes for as little as a month — and use… Read more »

Dan Varcoe

Its wonderful that we the opportunity to choose what we call home in this great country. Even though some areas seem to be getting crowded and restrictions are increasing, there are great places to live in an RV if you seek them out. We have found Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Idaho to be awesome. Now in our later 60’s, we have been full time RV’rs for 7 of the past 11 years, staying in our own home town a portion of that time. We have rented out our home and have no desire to go back. By simplifying and downsizing… Read more »

John Koenig

I was an “extended time” RVer from 2010 (when I bought my Casita Spirit Deluxe Travel Trailer) until May, 2018 (when I sold my “stick & brick”). I was 66 years old when I started RVing full time and, I realized that as the years passed, there would come a time when it would be prudent to “hang up the keys”. I’m currently in good health and, plan to remain a full time RVer for the foreseeable future (in the 2015 Dynamax DX3-37RB Freightliner based, Class 7 HDT Super-C Class RV which I bought new in 2014). I can always… Read more »

Denny wagaman

Full timing might seem like a good idea but most people that I know have a home to go to and maybe live in their RV for 2-6 months. We have lived up to 6 months in our MH. We prefer to travel but only from Nov thru April. We bought an RV lot thought we would like staying in it for the winter ended up NOT enjoying it. I live to drive it and we like staying in some places for a couple of weeks then moving on. After 10 yrs of our winter traveling we decide to stay… Read more »


We have had one type or another of an rv since the 70’s when our 3 daughters so enjoyed going camping in our little 17′ Golden Falcon trailer (no toilet). Once the girls got into their teens, their enjoyment faltered to the point that the trailer sat for most of the year. Consequently we sold it and watched them grow into adulthood. Once the nest was empty, we bought a little Pop-up and did our own camping and enjoyed it so much we upgraded to a nice 25′ Coachmen travel trailer. We were getting close to retirement and spoke often… Read more »


Our RVing history is similar to several below. Camped during vacations while working, then extended and full-time from 2004-2017 while retired. Enjoyed spontaneous boon-docking, as well as minimal advanced reservations at military and public campgrounds/RV parks — until the economy picked up about 2013-4. Had to start making more and more reservations, farther and farther in advance. Became nearly impossible to get into nice state and national park campgrounds. Campgrounds too crowded and expensive, even our favorite boon-docking places too crowded. The thrill was gone so we bought another house in 2017 and put our 5th-wheel in storage for almost… Read more »

Captn John

It is too crowded out there. Even CGs on military installations have become a problem getting into and that is about to get worse. I’m 71, just bought a 2019 Montana and 2019 F350 dually. I’m going to fight it another few years, as long as I can. I expect many that bought in the past 3 – 5 years will soon find the buying fad is not for them, too many problems on many fronts from repairs to CGs. Many are still looking for that serene site with the stream and no other units in site. The % willing… Read more »


Hi Chuck, your assessment of the hassle of being a fulltime today is spot on. We were fulltimers for almost 5 years until my wife needed heart surgery in 2015. We needed a house for her to recover in. We loved our 5 year adventure and still spend 5-6 months per year in our motorhome. As you know the Pacific Northwest can be a bit wet and gray 5 months of the year so Arizona with our RV friends is very appealing. Thanks for your good work, hope to see you down the road sometime.

Ron Hough

Sold the house and tried full-timing a few years ago. It was fun but we hated the storage fees for all the stuff we couldn’t part with and the lack of connection with our home community, not to mention the desire to relax in our own yard, do some gardening, putter in the garage and participate in local organizations and activities. We still travel in the RV but enjoy a balance that works well for us.


Not to worry,Chuck.We gave up on full timing because of overcrowded,and overpriced with no relief in sight,RV parks across the country.Add to that recipe worn out highways with bomb crater like potholes and beat out bridges and it’s a lot of wear and tear,and money to fix,anyone’s RV.After getting burned by an unscrupulous RV dealer in Pasco,Washington…something about a dog RV company..I will never buy another new RV again.The RV industry just doesn’t care about the consumer,they only care about shareholder profits.So they can stuff their new RV’s where the sun doesn’t shine.Nothing wrong with having and using a well… Read more »

Bob Godfrey

Well Chuck everyone has a different view obviously. As for us, we have been full timing 10 years so far and if it were up to my wife we would never stop but oddly it is me that wants a garage/workshop to “putter” around in and that is the one thing I have missed the most over the years. Besides the difficulty of being spontaneous I have also found it difficult to simply wash/wax my motor home since so many RV parks ban that activity now. However, I am actually worried that if we bought a place to return to… Read more »

Bob p

I worked for General Motors for 30 years and the last 15 I was planning on retiring and selling out for a full timing life right down to buying a truck and 5th wheel. Finally the big day came, I retired and my wife informed me she was not going to spend the rest of her life living in a camper. Long story shortened we couldn’t meet our expenses of home ownership and RV lifestyle on 1/3 the income, plus my wife’s health began its downward spiral, so I went back to work doing various jobs. My wife lost her… Read more »


Great Response Chuck. Our RV experience has been more that 18 years now. We full timed for almost 2 years while my Career with the FAA was winding down! Now we are back to a sticks and bricks home with our 5th Wheel Parked in our RV shed next to the house. And as you say, it is crowded out there. For instance, we had to make reservations for an RV Park in Mobile, AL for the 2020 Mardi Gras parades (just happens to be the best place to go for Mardi Gras). Now, while it will be in February… Read more »

Randy Walker

Mardi Gras started in Mobile (my hometown). Most people think New Orleans. Have fun!

Birdie (Nancy Hillstromb)

I am firm believer that when it is time for you to come off the road you will know it. And Chuck you are correct that it is very crowded out there in the campgrounds. There are a lot of ‘entitled’ people RVing now. It used to be only once in a while you met ‘one of those’. I have said for the last couple of years that I was thinking about coming off the road. Suddenly, in April a very unique housing situation presented itself, my family connections changed and I made the decision to grab that unique house.… Read more »